By Danica Chen, Del Norte High School
Looking at the crowd of sixty young girls and eighteen volunteers, you would never guess that the All Girls STEM Society was only a year old. On April 24, 2016, the AGSS held its second annual math tournament at the Carmel Valley Library.
The competition was for all girls from third grade to eighth grade, who were separated into three divisions based on their grade. It began with a speed round and a target round and ended with a team round, in which the competitors could work with their friends to answer the questions. In between the rounds there was a ten minute break, during which the participants ate snacks provided by the AGSS and interacted with the other girls. After Dr. Wei Xu described the benefits of integrating mathematical principles and art, the awards ceremony took place, bestowing the winners with medals and prizes. However, prizes was the last thing on the minds of most of the girls.
"I wanted to try something new, and I like working with numbers instead of letters. There's always only one answer," says Myra, a participant in the event. "Since I was younger I always did best in math, and I thought it would be fun. That's basically why I came. I guess you could win, too, but I came to have fun."
Parents are also less concerned with winning than with encouraging an interest in STEM in their children.
"We need the girls to be inspired, but I don't think schools are providing enough of that type of experience. My daughter loves the events, but math is one of her weaker points. Events like this can really help change that," one parent explains. "This country needs girls in STEM in the future, and learning math and getting interested in math really would be beneficial for them."
The All Girls STEM Society's next event taking place in San Diego will be a Robotics Workshop on May 22nd.